Phil Steele’s got your returning starters right here.

Here’s why that matters:

For instance, last year there were 19 teams that returned 16 starters or more, including their QB. Of those 19 teams, 12 had a better record in 2016 than they did in 2015. Four had the same record, and only 3 of the 19 had a weaker record.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, there were 14 teams that returned 11 or fewer starters that did not have a returning starter at QB. Of those 14 teams, 0 had a better record. Of the 14 least experienced teams, 13 had a weaker record in 2016 than they did in 2015 and one had the same.

And here’s why that matters to us.

SEC
RK TEAM TOTAL OFF QB DEF
T3 Georgia 17 7 1 10
T3 Kentucky 17 8 1 9
T9 South Carolina 16 10 1 6
T9 Vanderbilt 16 9 1 7
T25 Auburn 15 8 1 7
T25 Missouri 15 10 1 5
T48 Florida 14 9 1 5
T48 Tennessee 14 7 0 7
T71 Arkansas 13 7 1 6
T71 Mississippi St 13 7 1 6
T86 Texas A&M 12 5 0 7
T103 Alabama 11 6 1 5
T103 LSU 11 6 1 5
T103 Ole Miss 11 5 0 6

That’s right. Georgia is tied for first in the conference and third nationally.  This will also mark Georgia’s first season with a returning starter at quarterback since 2013. (I don’t count Lambert last year, because we all knew he was just holding down the fort temporarily until the coaches moved Eason in.)  I don’t see how that can hurt.

As for the rest of the SEC, a few notes…

  • Yeah, I think we can discount Alabama only bringing back eleven.
  • On the other hand, Ole Miss is really adding up the suckitude for 2017.
  • Only three SEC teams don’t have returning starters at QB.  A sign of better times to come?
  • The top four teams are all in the East.
  • Missouri led the conference in total offense and was fifth in scoring offense.  The Tigers bring back all but one starter on offense this season.  Whoa, baby.
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33 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Phil Steele Makes My Eyes Water, SEC Football

33 responses to “Phil Steele’s got your returning starters right here.

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    I repeat: The Eastern Division is easy, ripe, and luscious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Russ

      I’m a little worried about Mizzou. But otherwise, yep ours to take.

      Like

      • merk

        The Mizzou D was not very good at all last year and only returns 5, so it will probably be a shoot out again.

        Like

      • Sides

        Mizzou led the conference in total offense and was fifth in scoring offense? Does that count all games or only SEC games? I remember they put up 70 on a couple non-conference teams but I didn’t think they were that good in conference play…

        Like

        • georgiajeepn

          Good catch there Sides. Missouri beat Eastern Michigan 61-21. They also beat Delaware State 79-0. In their SEC games they gave up in order 28,42,40,35,31,17,63 and 24. They also gave up 51 to Middle Tennessee State. All four of their wins were at home. At least we have them at Georgia this year.

          Like

        • Napoleon BonerFart

          In conference play, Missouri was 5th in total offense and 11th in scoring offense.

          Like

      • loutown

        I get the worry about Mizzou, barely beat them, but also worries me the teams we lost to 2 years in a row, Tenn, UF, GT. All will be preaseason top 25 along with Auburn and Notre Dame. Miss St picked up Grantham, so they’ll be tough. Muschamp can coach up some D.Appalachain St gave Tenn all they could handle last year. Vandy beat us. UF blew us out. Ky was a close win, might be a loss this time.

        Like

        • Hogbody Spradlin

          So, uh, what’s your point again?

          Like

          • loutown

            point is, East or schedule won’t be easy, ripe or luscious.There is only 1 gimme game, the other 11 are 50/50 toss ups.

            Like

            • Mayor

              This^. Following the Senator’s rationale in his post, the entire SEC East plus Auburn is in a better position than last season. So, since we play all of ’em how does this benefit Georgia?

              Like

              • The rationale of my post is “I don’t see how that can hurt.” You disagree?

                Like

                • Mayor

                  I do not disagree. It probably is going to be like chicken soup and mean nothing since the other teams in our division plus Auburn and Missy State, following the same logic, are going to improve about the same. UT may be the exception because the Vowels lose their QB.

                  Like

            • Hogbody Spradlin

              Loutown, I grok your point. But my thought was not “we’re good”. It was that “they’re” not that good, so “we” just need to be competent. Granted, “competent” is easier said than done.

              Like

        • A10Penny

          If Cheney can’t take advantage of what will undoubtedly be a confused at the snap defense, I will give up on him.

          Like

  2. Bright Idea

    Steele should do a chart on assistant coaches returning.

    Like

  3. Macallanlover

    Returning starters is obviously a good indicator, but the underlying level of talent that is a year stronger, and “seasoned” behind those starters, plus adding top athletes from the recruiting class, may be the real difference with this team. (Six of the incoming guys are EEs already on campus.) That is not only quality depth, it is more people pushing starters and competing for playing time. It is better ST players covering kicks and blocking for returners. I expect better kickers too, but that is yet to be proven on the field.

    Bottom line, UGA will not only field more returners this year, we will have stronger, better depth than we have had for some time. Given that, and a schedule where we are likely to be favored in 10-11 of those games, the East is ours to lose, and we shouldn’t be overwhelmed by anyone when we get to Atlanta. Injuries could undermine all that, but we should expect 2017 to be substantially better product than 2016 was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Normaltown Mike

      it’s the returning offensive coordinators that should give us pause.

      Like

    • loutown

      Talent has never been the problem at UGA, check out the recruiting averages for 17 years there. It’s just no one fixes stuff from year to year. Def red zone? Offense? Special Teams? Until I hear specifics from coaches on how that won’t happen this year, I’m not expecting more than a 6 or 7 win season.

      Like

  4. DawgPhan

    At this rate people are going to be writing UGA should be a favorite for the national title articles before July.

    Like

  5. ATL Dawg

    This is fake news. Anyone that knows anything knows this is another throwaway year. 2018 may be a throwaway year as well.

    Like

    • Normaltown Mike

      threeaway?

      Like

    • NoAxeToGrind

      If 2018 is a throwaway year, Smart is dead meat. They may let him finish out his contract, but he better go undefeated, at least thru the SECCG.

      Like

    • loutown

      I don’t see the hype, How will the offense score more? The oline lost 3 starters and they were already bad, but definately will be worse, wow. The run game was non existent as was the pass game. The defense couldn’t stop anyone in the red zone. the special teams cost Smart several games. Went 7-5. Offense was terrible, no offensive coaches got fired, all you need to know.

      Like

  6. Normaltown Mike

    Like

  7. loutown

    This don’t make me feel better, we got a 1/3rd of a chance of being 7-5 or worse? I’d think since this offense was terrible last year, the fact they all return really means nothing as far as wins go, they did only win 7 of 12 games. They are not winners. They don’t have the “it” factor. Smart is also very inexperienced at his job, and it shows with near losses against teams like Kentucky, Missouri, and even lowly Nichols State. let’s face it, the special teams were practically the worst in the nation, the offense was bottom 20%, and the defense underperformed given Smart’s background. The Senator is trying to raise expectations, but at leas ton me, it’s not working, any suckers out there buying this UGA Natty Champs in 2017 the Senator is selling? I would say, look at the offense returners and their results, then think again. Could easily lose to 6 of these 11 teams: Auburn, Tn, Notre Dame, GT, UF, Miss St, Ky, Appal St, SC, Vanderbilt, Mizzou. Samford is the only guaranteed win.

    Like

    • Mayor

      Basically this is a repeat of my post of the other day. This is NOT an easy schedule. Might be for Southern Cal but not for the Georgia team I saw play last season. The real issue is the returning COACHES, not the returning players.

      Like

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